3 2 mins 11 yrs

When I was a schoolboy, my father was tenant of a public house in Jarrow. As newcomers to the Town, we soon realised that this was a place apart, where whole streets had been flattened by German bombs, where grass grew where once people had been born, lived and died because a would-be invader fought against us; where grass grew because the very house foundations had been blasted away. The people of Jarrow had been through the same mill as most other British towns and cities, but their fortitude was perhaps of a different brand, having first been the crucible from which the steely determination of the Jarrow marchers was cast.

Their aim was honest, to simply publicise the way and the manner in which they felt their own town had been cast upon the industrial scrap-heap, and to civilly ask the Government of the day to give them aid and help. On October 5th 1936, they set off, and marched for 22 days, and 280 miles; to London. Despite huge publicity, and a groundswell of approbation on the march itself, they did not meet the Prime Minister, the hoped-for jobs did not re-appear until re-armament brought increased industrial activity to the mines and the shipbuilding sector of the North-East.


Switch forward sixty-five years, and a second ‘Jarrow March’ sets off as HUNDREDS of activists are planning to recreate one of the most iconic protests ever to be held in the wake of rising unemployment.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the legendary Jarrow March, a new generation of crusaders are planning to follow in the footsteps of the 200  jobless men who made their way on foot from South Tyneside to London in 1936.


Somehow, I don’t think we do ‘Iconic’ any more!

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3 thoughts on “Different folks…Very different Strokes!

  1. We might not do ‘iconic’, but we certainly do ‘irony’.

    Our current political and economic scenario bears an uncanny resemblance to that of the early 1930’s. A lengthy period of Labour in power, with the usual result – an economic shambles with many manufacturing jobs being lost, and perhaps the birth of one of the politician’s favourite excuses:-

    “MacDonald argued that the rise in unemployment was caused by factors outside the government’s control”

    It seems there is little new today, – high unemployment, one side proposing cuts in government spending, and the other wanting more government spending, and as an added twist, massive arguments over changes, in what was the original National Insurance and Health scheme, formed in 1911, and after some thirty odd years was in desperate need of overhaul, and as now, the socialists adamantly protesting any changes to what was, and still is, their Holy Grail. Yep! we have certainly been there before!

    Then, as now, party politics and loyalties meant more than national interest, – even to MacDonald having his birth certificate put under scrutiny, as I said, nothing new…

    As for the ‘new’ Jarrow March, – the header says it all – different folks, and very different strokes, and the living proof that excessive and unlimited welfarism ultimately does more harm than good, but then, isn’t that basically the gist of the argument? – just what is enough to avert poverty and suffering but not too much to encourage sloth.

    I feel the answer may lay elsewhere, e.g. the extremely gross differential between the ‘top earners’, and those that do the actual work, and the perpetual flaunting of the celeb lifestyle, which for the majority is unattainable, – does anyone else see it as more ‘taunt than flaunt’?…

  2. I have no doubt that if The Sun had been around in 1937, it would have attacked the Jarrow marchers as commie scum holding out the begging bowl for state help.

  3. Peter,

    I equally doubt that would be the case. The original marchers enjoyed much support from across a wide spectrum of the population, – and they certainly met a lot on that march.

    The point of Mike’s post was that ‘they had an almost universal respect’ for their efforts, as did the similarly unemployed marchers from the Welsh valleys, when they too marched on London…

    That the current bunch don’t enjoy similar support is folk have learnt a lesson and are invariably wary of anything organised by unions and other similar entities, – it always ends up costing them money…

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